G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Jezebel was engaged in some secret ops level hipster racism. I’ve been intrigued by some of their pieces regarding men who gawk at, stare luridly at, catcall, or street harass women. The pattern here is that all of these Jezebel posts depict black men as fitting the stereotype of hypersexual harassers.
The gist of this latest piece is that a woman began eating a lot as she started puberty and began developing womanly attributes. She got a lot of unwanted attention for it from men in her community and developed a defense mechanism of overeating to hide her attractiveness. She wrote:
It started off subtle at first. Lingering stares and comments under the breath that you couldn’t quite make out. I couldn’t understand why these men were speaking to me that way. I may have had breasts and hips, but I still looked like a child. I tried to hide my budding womanlyness under oversized baggy clothes, but that didn’t work. After I turned 16, it got unbearable/ I literally had men grab me, pull at me, hiss and whistle at me. I felt like everyone knew I had breasts and hips and thighs, everyone knew I was a woman. But I didn’t want to be a woman. I hated it, I hated the men and I hated me.
The piece was originally posted at Ebony.com.
I’ll repeat myself: white men and Asian men don’t hiss at budding young women or even fully-sprung women. Almost all of the stories about street harassment – which isn’t necessarily a problem of epidemic proportions but which is a social nuisance – involve men who are black or, sometimes, Hispanic. The high rates of sexual success among these particular minority groups is due to this general high approach attitude. Cat calling and hissing and making crude comments are behaviors arising from a similar desire as just spitting direct Game. The more unsettling approaches usually occur when a guy is around a group of his friends or when there is a bit of distance between the guy and the “target” or when the woman is walking speedily through the danger zone. All of these behaviors lie on the shamelessness spectrum.
An honest piece on this topic would tie together this particular woman’s decision to gain weight – a response to her shame – and the low-level abuse she experienced within her community. It would also tie in the obesity levels prevalent among black women to the high rates of abuse, sexual or otherwise. This abuse is not part of a historical pattern of male dominance over women. It exists because of a critically low mass of paternal influence within the community which has arisen for a whole host of issues. But there is a myth of the strong black woman that assumes that they are somehow immune from the obviously callous and crude behavior of the men of their community. Of course, it has to be mentioned that black women perpetuate the cycle as well.
I’m not concern trolling here; I’m just saying that obesity and a lack of self worth and abuse and the crude behavior of black men on the street are all connected in some way and it doesn’t get discussed because it will make black men look bad or make the black community feel uncomfortable. This is obvious to everyone reading this post, but it isn’t obvious to Jezebel and other social justice sites that always avoid placing any blame on predetermined victim groups.
I can predict two counterarguments to this post. The first will come from MRA types or hardcore Game advocates who will try to downplay street harassment. I’d say that street harassment isn’t a huge social issue, but when it does occur, and it occurs often enough, it is a nuisance of some level. Secondly, someone will defend against the racial argument here by citing socioeconomic differences and pointing to white hillbillies who harass and molest girls in their communities. That undoubtedly happens, but this type of trailer park behavior is commonly tied to the race of the men doing it. The pedophile white loser is a cultural trope whereas there is nothing like that in the black community.